Akiem Hicks Wants to Wear the Orange and Other Bullets

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Akiem Hicks Wants to Wear the Orange and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Akiem Hicks has been one heck-of-a-signing by the Chicago Bears, and the extension he signed before last season will keep him with the team for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, perhaps Hicks has some pull regarding what threads the team will get to wear when they take the field. If Hicks had his way, we’d be seeing a different look from the Monsters of the Midway:

There’s even a petition and we’ve already signed it. So while the Bears are making changes all over the place, what’s one more?

  • If Aaron Rodgers receives a (let’s be honest) much-deserved raise and contract extension before the start of the 2018 season, he’ll be the third NFC North quarterback to become the highest-paid player in the sport in the last calendar year. Impressive stuff. That leaves the Bears having Mitch Trubisky on a rookie deal as something of a bargain, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Because Trubisky is on his first contract, the Bears have the kind of financial wiggle room that allows the team to sign skill position players to large deals without pressing up against the salary cap. All things considered, GM Ryan Pace did the right thing with how certain contracts were structured last year and this year. With short-term mistakes off the board, the Bears were positioned to strike while the iron was hot … and it appears as if they did just that.
  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has a pretty deep rundown of NFL free agency, which includes grades for every transaction. The Bears come out looking good for their efforts, especially when it comes to rebuilding the pass-catching group that Trubisky gets to throw to in 2018. Allen Robinson’s B+ grade stands out at the top of the report card, but it’s Barnwell’s assessment of the move that is eye-catching. Barnwell calls Robinson “one of the highest-upside players” to hit free agency in recent years. It’s possible the Jaguars know a player who had been in their system since he was drafted and there could be reasons he was let go, but if Robinson gets back into 2015 mode where he is catching everything, making big chunk plays, and scoring touchdowns, Jacksonville might have their share of regrets if the offense sputters out.
  • With Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in tow, Pace’s aggressive push early in free agency has drastically improved one of the team’s weakest areas. So much so, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus ranked the Bears’ receivers as one of the most upgraded groups via free agency. Getting players to raise the floor of the position group is one thing, but what Pace did to find (and sign) players to fit particular roles is what stands out. Each of the Bears’ signings has a unique set of skills that add layers to the passing game that simply weren’t there last year. Robinson’s deep-ball catching abilities, Gabriel’s speed and route-running, and Trey Burton’s athleticism at tight end could create mismatches that weren’t available last year.
  • Perhaps this is all adding up to an out-of-nowhere Super Bowl run? OK, so mayyyybe it’s too early to jump on that bandwagon. But if you’re feeling froggy, you should leap while there’s still good money to be made. Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay offers up a group of teams who have improved their Super Bowl odds the most since the start of free agency. If you’ll recall, the Bears opened up as 100-to-1 long shots, but are now sitting at 80-1 after their free agent spending spree. That’s a pretty notable move, even if the Bears are still viewed as a deep sleeper to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since winning Super Bowl XX. Now, if the Bears back up their free agency boom with a kick-butt draft, that number is going to move again. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that Bears free agent running back Benny Cunningham visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the weekend. The Bucs have running back needs after watching Doug Martin move on to the Raiders in free agency. Cunningham isn’t an every-down back, but is a key special teams contributor and valued pass-catching running back. The Bears could bring him back or could look elsewhere to fill a need at that position.
  • There must be something about Mike Glennon that leads to him getting oddly constructed contracts:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.